In the future when humanity stands on the brink of extinction, a tribe of young women led by "the old one" who had in her youth been in the military, wander about Europe doing little more than just surviving. The End of August at the Hotel Ozone (1967) is elegant in black & white, filmed by a leading member of "the Czech New Wave" of the 1960s.
The girls have grown up unruly & even animalistic, having never been shaped or restricted by civilization. The old woman who remembers what the world was once like hopes they will find an enclave with men so that her followers can have children & sustain the species for at least one more generation. The girls, however, do not quite know what men were, & scarcely care.
It has been many years since they encountered any sign of other human life. But they unexpectedly encounter an old man who lives in a broken-down hotel or mansion in what must once have been a forested tourist resort.
The girls stay a while in the lonely old man's veritable palace, & are shown his precious relics of a vanished world: humanity's last newspaper, a wind-up phonograph with but one scratchy record remaining, a television placed centermost in the room like an important icon. The idea of treasure appeals to the young women, who might even be willing to kill for the old man's possessions even though they'd soon discard & forget them.
This film is small, quiet, & credible, reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. It is the opposite of an action film so may seem tedious to fans of vintage science fiction. But adjust the expectation to cinema-as-art, & there's a great deal to this piece that is unsettlingly thought provoking.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl